Accommodating Interruptions is a theory that emerged in the context of young people who have asthma, explaining how they address their main concern of participating in their chosen activities and social groups despite the restriction of having asthma (Hughes 2014, Hughes et al. 2017). Ireland has the fourth highest incidence of asthma in the world, with almost one in five Irish young people having asthma (Kabir et al. 2011, Manning et al.  2007). Although national and international asthma management guidelines exist, it is accepted that the symptom control of asthma in this population group is poor (Chang 2012, GINA 2012). Several factors are known to influence the control young people have over their symptoms, in relation to compliance, exposure to triggers and lack of individualised asthma plans (Ducharme et al. 2011, Schreier & Chen 2008).


The aim of this research was to develop a theory on the behaviours of young people (aged 11-16) who have asthma in relation to the impact of asthma on their lives, and the issues affecting them. 


This research was undertaken using a Classic Grounded Theory approach (Glaser & Strauss 1967). Using a systematic approach, patterns of behaviour identified in the data explain how the
main concern of participants is resolved (Glaser 1978). The data were collected through in-depth interviews (n=18) and asthma clinic consultations in community pharmacies (n=33) with young people aged 11-16 years who had asthma for over one year. Data were also collected from participant diaries (n=5). Constant comparative analysis, theoretical coding and memo writing were used to develop the theory. 


The theory explains the patterns of behaviour in how young people maximize their participation and inclusion in activities, events and relationships in spite of their asthma. The core
category of accommodating interruptions explains how they do this, by simultaneously assimilating behaviours in balance finding, moderating influence, fitting in and assuming control, the sub-core categories explained in the theory. These patterns of behaviour are explained providing a new way of understanding the lives of young people who have asthma.


The theory of accommodating interruptions explains how and why young people behave the way they do in order minimise the effect of asthma on their lives. The theory adds to the body of knowledge on young people with asthma and challenges some viewpoints regarding their behaviours. The theory may assist in design of services for young people that are meaningful for them, and relevant to them.